Food With High Protein For Weight Gain


You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to need more protein in your diet. Think about it: if you’re trying to gain weight, you probably already know that protein is one of the most important nutrients for building muscle. So here are some of the best high-protein foods for weight gain.

  1. Eggs

Eggs are one of the most common go-to meals for gaining weight. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, iron, zinc and selenium. You can make them into an omelet or scramble them up with vegetables and cheese for breakfast—or even use them in recipes like egg casseroles or quiches!

  1. Chicken Breast

Chicken breast is an excellent source of iron and zinc—two essential minerals that help your body absorb protein better so you can build more muscle mass while losing fat at the same time! Just remember that chicken should be cooked without any added fats (like oil) or salt before eating it because both can increase your risk of heart disease and other health problems down the road.

Food With High Protein For Weight Gain

Although being overweight is a better known culprit of health issues, being underweight can also result in health problems. Eating five to six times a day, eating more protein and fat, adding high-calorie snacks and extra toppings are among the ways to gain weight.
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Who might need to gain weight?
Your registered dietitian (RD) or healthcare provider may have recommended a high-calorie and high-protein diet because your body is currently burning more calories than you are taking in. This can cause you to lose weight. Medical conditions and other causes that make it hard to gain weight include:

Eating disorders.
Type 1 diabetes.
Stress, depression or anxiety.
Infections including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, parasites and others.
Celiac disease.
Genetics (you were born with a high metabolism rate).
Medicines that cause nausea and vomiting, including chemotherapy.
Active calorie burner (you burn a lot of calories at your job, are very physically active, frequently workout).
Other circumstances in which weight gain is recommended include:

You’ve had a long stay in the hospital and have lost weight.
You’re an athlete and want to gain muscle weight and strength.
How is underweight defined?
You are considered to be underweight if your body mass index (BMI) is below 18.5. (See the reference section for link to easy-to-use BMI calculator.) About 2% of the population is underweight. Women are four times more likely to be underweight than men. Age groups most affected are young people ages 18 to 24 and those over the age of 65.

What are the health risks of being underweight?
While obesity is more frequently in the news as a major health problem, being underweight can also result in health problems. Health risks can include:

Fertility problems (there may be difficulties in a woman’s ability to conceive if she is underweight).
Osteoporosis from not getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet.
Anemia from not getting enough iron in your diet.
Weakened immune system.
Thinning hair/hair loss, teeth and gum problems, dry skin.
General tiredness from lack of energy.
Delayed growth and development in children.
Poor wound healing.
Heart rhythm problems.
Poor sleep.
What are some general concepts about how to gain weight?
The main concept to gaining weight is that you have to eat more calories than the amount your body burns. Aim to eat 300 to 500 more calories per day if you want to gain weight slowly. It’s better for your body to gain weight slowly than to put on weight quickly. Eating a surplus of 500 calories a day more than you burn results in a new pound of body mass per week. General rules include eating more often (five to six times per day), eat more fat and eat more protein.

What should I NOT do to gain weight?
Don’t eat junk food. Eating chips, sugary sodas, donuts, and candy will add pounds but not be the source of a healthy weight gain. This weight will mostly end up around your belly, which puts you at risk for diabetes and heart disease. Instead, eat healthy foods that build muscle, such as protein-rich foods.

What are some popular calorie-rich healthy foods choices?
Examples of calorie-rich foods include:

Proteins: Red meats, pork, chicken with skin on (roast or broil don’t deep fry for your health), salmon or other oily fish, beans, whole milk, eggs, cheese, full-fat yogurt.
Carbohydrates: potatoes, brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole grains, whole grain breads.
Fats: Nuts and nut butters, olives, avocado, butter, salad dressings, mayonnaise, high-fat cheeses.
What are some helpful tips for gaining weight?
Eat small meals every three to five hours and snacks throughout the day to help you to consume more without feeling overly full.
Avoid drinking water or other fluids 30 minutes before meals to prevent you from feeling full. Also, drink a reduced amount of liquids with your meals.
Drink beverages that add calories, such as whole milk or cream, juice, shakes and smoothies, rather than water, tea, black coffee, and diet beverages that contain no calories.
Add condiments or ‘extras’ whenever you can. Top your food with dried fruit, chopped nuts or seeds, honey, bacon bits, cheeses, mayonnaise, and salad dressings. Prepare your food with extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil or butter to add calories. Try adding hummus or avocado to sandwiches or crackers/veggies.
When eating cereal use whole milk, half and half and add powdered milk. You can also use alternative milks if you find you are sensitive to lactose (lactose intolerance). Do the same when making scrambled eggs, soups, gravies, casseroles, and desserts.
Choose breaded meat, chicken, and fish. Choose higher fat meats such as chicken or turkey thighs and legs, pot roast, short ribs, salami, and sausage.
Choose fruit canned in syrup rather than juice and tuna canned in oil rather than water.
If you are vegetarian, vegan, or lactose-intolerant, use soy/almond/coconut or rice milks, nut or seed butters, tofu, olives, avocado, and vegetable oil to add calories.
If you prefer not to cook, or want portable snacks, stock up on individual pudding, yogurt, or cottage cheese cups, string cheese, granola bars, vending packs of trail mix, beef sticks, nuts, sunflower seeds, juice boxes, and chocolate milk cartons.
Commercial supplements such as meal replacement bars are also options.
Snack Ideas
The following charts present snack ideas and calorie counts.

Snacks with 100 to 250 calories include:

Snack Number of calories
Apple slices and 2 tbsp. caramel dip 200
1/4 block tofu and 1 tbsp. butter or olive oil for sautéing 200
Edamame (1 cup) and 1 tbsp. olive oil 200
Hummus (2 oz.) and serving of crackers 200
Tortilla chips and salsa and 2 tbsp. sour cream or 2 oz. silken tofu 200
1/2 cup Jello® and 2 tbsp. whipped cream 100-150
Roasted chickpeas (1/2 cup) and salt and pepper 150
1/2 avocado on 1 slice toast 250
McDonald’s 4-piece chicken nuggets 150
McDonald’s small low-fat ice cream cone 150
Medium Chai latte made with soy milk 240
1 frozen waffle with 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. syrup 250
English muffin and 1 tbsp. nut butter 250
Zucchini or pumpkin bread slice and 2 oz. cream cheese or honey 250
1 egg baked in 1/2 avocado 250
Snack ideas with 300 to 400 calories include:

Snack Number of

6 oz. container sweetened yogurt and 1/2 cup granola 300
1/2 cup Greek yogurt with 1 tbsp. honey and 1 tbsp. chopped nuts/seeds/dried fruit/chia or flax 300
1/2 cup rice/noodles with 1 tbsp. butter/olive oil and 1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese 300
1 sliced apple or banana with
2 tbsp. peanut butter and chocolate chips 300
3 chocolate chip cookies and
1 cup chocolate milk 300
Plain bagel and 2 tbsp. cream cheese 300-400
1 chicken drumstick and 1/2 cup mashed potato 400
1 envelope instant oatmeal cooked with 1/2 cup 2% milk, topped with 1 tbsp. brown sugar, 1 tbsp. butter, and 1 tbsp. raisins 350
1 one-half ounce chocolate bar (milk or dark) and 1/4 cup of almonds 400
Snack ideas with 500 to 700 calories include:

Snack Number of calories
1/2 cup tuna or egg salad sandwich and 1 cup 2% milk 600-700
1/2 cup trail mix and 8 oz. juice 520
2 tbsp. peanut or almond butter, 1 banana, 1 cup chocolate milk, and 1 scoop protein powder (blended shake) 650
Grilled cheese sandwich or quesadilla: 2 slices bread or tortilla, 2 slices cheese, and 2 tbsp. butter 650
Snack wrap: 1 flour tortilla, 2 slices ham, 2 slices cheese, 1 tbsp. mayonnaise, and 1 cup chocolate milk 700
Pita bread spread with 1/4 cup hummus, stuffed with sliced avocado, olives, tomatoes, and 1 cup chocolate soy milk 500-600
Large bakery blueberry muffin and 1 medium vanilla latte 500-700
Condiments and ‘extras’ to increase calories:

“Extras” Calories
1 tbsp. jam, jelly, marmalade, apple butter, maple syrup, chocolate syrup, honey, agave nectar, sugar, cream cheese 50-60
2 tbsp. hummus, guacamole 50-60
1 slice of bacon 50-60
8-10 olives 50-60
1 tbsp. butter, margarine, vegetable oils (canola, olive, etc.) peanut butter, almond butter, tahini, mayonnaise, and sour cream 100
¼ cup shredded cheese, raisins or other dried fruit, croutons 100
¼ cup nuts or trail mix, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds 200
1 dark or milk chocolate bar 200
1/2 cup granola 200

High Protein Foods List for Weight Loss / Gain & Muscle Building

diet plan for weight gain in 7 days

Gaining weight can be just as challenging as losing weight. While the main focus is to increase energy and protein intakes, it is also important to maintain a healthy balanced diet without eating too many foods that might have high amounts of calories but little in the way of good nutrition. 

This 7-day weight gain meal plan provides one example of how to achieve a higher protein and higher calorie intake from healthy energy-giving foods such as lean meat, dairy, eggs, seeds and nuts, which will assist you to enjoy your food while working your way toward achieving your weight gain goals. 

Those with a medical issue should seek advice from a medical practitioner before changing their diet.

Notes About This Meal Plan

• This meal plan provides approximately 11,500kJ daily and is based on the average energy and nutrient requirements for weight gain in 18 – 65 year old adults who undertake light to moderate levels of activity. Your energy requirements vary depending on age, activity, health status, height and weight. For personalised advice, seek the services of an Accredited Practising Dietitian.

• This meal plan provides at least the minimum number of serves from each of the core food groups as recommended in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating* for adults (other than women over 51 years and men over 70 years who require additional milk, cheese or yoghurt).

Want a version of this meal plan to print and use offline? Download the entire weight gain meal plan by clicking on this link.

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Day One

cheese and fruit on a board

Peanut Butter on Wholegrain Toast: Toasted wholegrain bread+ 2 tbsp peanut butter. Drizzle with honey to taste. Serve with 1 hot chocolate, made with milk + 1 serve of fruit (eg. 1 medium pear or orange).


Chicken and Pasta Salad: Cooked chicken + pasta + 1 cup leafy green vegetables (eg. spinach, rocket) + tomato + avocado + crumbled feta cheese + olive oil/vinegar dressing.


Lamb Chops and Vegetables: Lamb chop, trimmed & shallow fried in olive oil. Serve with sweet potato mash made with milk and olive oil + 2 cups cooked vegetables.


Fresh Fruit and Cheese Platter: Slice and serve a variety of fresh fruits in season and cheese.


A handful of mixed nuts and/or seeds.

Day Two

assorted fruits on bowl 1546896

Chia Porridge with Fruit: 2 tbsp chia seeds + rolled oats + 1.5 cup full cream milk + 1 serve of fruit (eg. 1 medium banana or 6 dried prunes).


Egg, Cheese and Salad Wrap: 2 boiled & mashed eggs + 2 cheese slices + avocado + 1 cup salad vegetables (eg. lettuce, cucumber, carrot, capsicum) rolled up in tortilla bread (make 2 wraps) + 1 cup fruit juice.


Baked Salmon, Cous Cous and Vegetables: Oven baked salmon fillet, sprinkled with sesame oil and sesame seeds + wholemeal cous cous + 2 cups cooked vegetables. Serve with hommus.


Fruit Salad Dessert: Fresh fruit salad with ice cream.


A handful of mixed nuts and/or seeds. Fruit toast with butter and/or jam.

Day Three


Sweet Potato Spanish Omelette (1 serve): Serve with 1 cafe latte or hot chocolate made with full cream milk.


Lentil, Vegetables and Barley Soup: Lentils with 1 cup chopped vegetables (eg. carrot, pumpkin, celery, onion), vegetable stock and barley. Serve with dollop of natural yoghurt. + 1 serve of fruit.


Spaghetti Bolognese: Lean mince with tomato, tomato puree, herbs & garlic served on spaghetti and sprinkled with cheese + 1 cup salad (eg. baby spinach, carrots, cucumber) with olive oil based dressing.


Fruit Smoothie: Made with 1 cup milk + 1 tbsp walnuts + fruit (eg. a small mango or berries).


20g cheese + Canned tuna in oil on wholegrain crackers.

Day Four

Nasi Goreng Tray Bake

Wholegrain Cereal with Milk and Fruit: Wholegrain flaky cereal + full cream milk + 2 tbsp linseeds + 1 serve of fruit (eg. 6 dried apricot halves or 4 small plums).


Chicken and Noodle Stir-fry: Sliced lean chicken + Hokkein noodles + 1 cup vegetables (eg. beans, capsicum, spinach, carrot) cooked in sesame oil + sweet soy sauce dressing. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.


Nasi Goreng Tray Bake (1 serve): Serve with 2 cup mixed salad vegetables.


Fruit Pop: Made with frozen fruits (eg. bananas or mangos) with Greek yoghurt.


1 serve of fruit (eg. 5 prunes or 1 cup fresh fruit salad). 1 cup hot chocolate made with full cream milk.

Day Five

Poached eggs with field mushrooms and avocado web

Poached Eggs with Sauteed Field Mushroom and Avocado (1 serve): Serve with 1 cafe latte or hot chocolate made with full cream milk.


Fish and Chips: Dip fish fillets in flour, egg then breadcrumbs and shallow fry in canola oil. Serve with homemade thick potato chunky chips, lemon wedges and 2 cups mixed salad vegetables with olive oil dressing. + 1 serve of fruit.


Mango Chicken and Corn: Grilled chicken thighs served with mango salsa, corn on the cob & 1.5 cups baked vegetables (eg. carrot, onion, beans) in olive oil.


Yoghurt Parfait: Layer 1 tub of yoghurt and muesli/rolled oats in tall serving glasses. Top with handful of mixed nuts and/or seeds.


Banana slices + ricotta cheese + nut butter on toast.

Day Six

Easy fish pie 0172

Fruit Toast with Berry Smoothie: Slices of fruit toast spread with butter and/or jam to taste. Serve with a smoothie made with 1 cup full cream milk + 1 cup berries + 2 tbsp linseed/sunflower/almond meal.


Tuna and Quinoa Salad: Tuna in oil mixed with 3 bean mix + 2 cups salad vegetables (eg. leafy greens, tomato, cucumber, carrot, capsicum) + cooked quinoa + olive oil/vinegar dressing.


Easy Fish Pie: Serve with 2 cup mixed salad vegetables.


Pavlova and Fruit: Pavlova topped with fresh fruit salad. Serve with custard.


1 tub yoghurt. 3 wholegrain crackers with hummus.

Day Seven

Bechamel Spinach Baked Eggs 2

Bechamel Spinach Baked Egg (1 serve): Serve with 1 café latte.


Beef and Noodle Soup: Thinly sliced beef + fresh flat rice noodles + 1 cup vegetables (eg. bean sprouts, carrot, broccoli) cooked in vegetable stock. Sprinkle with diced green onion. + 1 serve of fruit (eg. 1 medium apple or banana).


Pork Roast and Vegetables: Lean pork roast + baked potato + 1.5 cups baked vegetables + olive oil (for cooking).


Fruit Crepe: Sliced fruit and ricotta cheese wrapped in crepe. Drizzle with syrup or honey to taste.


1 tub yoghurt. A handful of mixed nuts and/or seeds.

Learn More About Eggs And Nutrition

Not sure whether eggs may be beneficial in your situation? Learn more about how eggs may help serve your nutritional needs today.

Discover our super easy & delicious meal plans designed to help you achieve a healthy and balanced diet. Check out our pregnancy or low cholesterol meal plan today!

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